Nspire Beta National Park

After experiencing the challenges of my life that came out of no where, I needed a power morning. This meant I would enjoy breakfast at my favorite spot, Waffle House, while being as creative as I could using math and technology.  I used the #desmos app to complete the photo below. I completed it the first time using the #TINspire, which I happened to have with me at the time.

My favorite waiter stopped by my table to check on me.  "What are you so focused on?" I took the opportunity to tell my waiter at #wafflehouse about traveling to Beta National Park (fictitious place) using the images on my #TINspire. I showed him a country road, a truck traveling and a bike cycling down the road. I showed him two of the creatures I saw while driving through the park; the peeping balled eagle and a brown bear. I then showed him the screens which revealed the math used to create the story.

I asked him one question. If your math teacher showed you this as an animation short at the beginning of the semester and said you would be able to create it when you finish this class, would it have changed you opinion about math? He said definitely. My waiter is a freshman in college. He is going to become a civil engineer but is having difficulty with the math because of the gaps. Even though he graduated in the top 25% of his graduating class, he did not realize how much he should have paid attention in pre-calculus and Algebra 2. He went on to say he felt like he was given a grade rather than being taught to think.

I ask you (all my readers), why do we have to keep it traditional?

After my experience with the waiter "future civil engineer," I decided to create the short to share with others.  It is more developed than what the waiter experienced. I think he would enjoy this short.  Why not more? Why not try something besides drill and kill? Why not rigor that inspires. Oh wait, some define rigor as word problems. Word problems.... Maybe that is due to standardized testing.  

My conjecture is simple.  When students have to understand the connection of transformations of geometric shapes and algebraic representations, they can understand initial point, landing point, maximum and minimum height, maximum area and volume, as well as, the distinctions between similar figures and congruent figures.  I want to challenge the creativity of our students.  Our students deserve better.  I have to challenge myself as a learner in order to become a better facilitator. I believe this is a step in the right direction.